History and Theory of Architecture and Climate


Daniel Barber

Wednesday 9:00 - 11:50 AM

Climate change is upon us. This course discusses the history of thinking about climate in architecture. We confront the geographic and epistemic challenges of climate change and other environmental threats, and reimagine the forces seen to condition the development of modern architecture. This course will explore the history of buildings as mechanisms of climate management, and the theoretical and conceptual frameworks that pertain.

As many of the arguments and innovations in the climate discourse were made through visual means, the images produced by architects and others interested in understanding the relationship between “man” and “climate” will be a central arena of exploration. We will treat these images as evidence of material innovations in energy efficient architectural design technologies and also as evidence of new ways of thinking about ecological, political, cultural, and economic concerns.

These narratives, images, and methods – and the broader understanding of environmental systems that emerged since the immediate post-war period – also suggest a complex relationship to the present. Rather than examine instrumental aspects of these methods and their histories, we will explore different historiographic and conceptual means for the archival analysis of climate, technology, and architecture. Recent texts concerned with theories of historical change, of new ideas about the human, and with the cultural anxieties associated with the Anthropocene will be read closely to this end.

Students will be expected to participate in class discussions, make a seminar presentation, and develop a semester-long research project.

Spring 2019